Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

On Writing, with Anne Duke Judd and Kenneth L. Thornburn

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On Writing, with Anne Duke Judd and Kenneth L. Thornburn

Anne Duke Judd and Kenneth L. Thornburn talk to Open Book about their illustrated history book,Bruce Day by Day, a celebration of the history of Bruce County that introduces readers to the pioneers and poets, artists and athletes of the community.

Anne and Ken launch their book at 3:30 p.m. today, Sept. 23, at 682 Goderich St. in Port Elgin.

Open Book:

Tell us about your book, Bruce Day by Day.

Anne Duke Judd:

It gives people history in daily tidbits from the long-ago and the not-so-distant past of Bruce County, with Ken's art illustrating each weekly page spread.

OB:

Did you have a specific audience in mind?

ADJ:

We think heritage hunters, genealogists and trivia fans will especially like it.

Kenneth L. Thornburn:

It's not limited to any age group, because it includes events that younger people can remember.

ADJ:

We both hope people will personalize their copy by adding family dates. Wouldn't it be great if, in fifty years or so, the Bruce County Archives had a collection of different "versions" of the book?

OB:

What was the experience of working together on the project like?

KLT:

It was a blast! We worked well together, I think, and learned from the scope of what went on here in the past 150 years. It was exciting to create illustrations for that.

ADJ:

We had a lot of laughs—and some brain-racking challenges, such as the dates when five significant events happened on the same day, but we could choose only one.

OB:

What methods did you use to conduct your research?

KLT:

Local reference books mostly...NOT the Internet. I'm a big believer in paper-based references.

ADJ:

Most of the communities here have published history books, and we also knew about and used the Women's Institute Tweedsmuir Histories. The newspapers at the Bruce County Archives helped pin down exact dates. I did use the Internet in some instances, usually to contact organizations or confirm information. Some facts came from my own notes as a writer. For example, earlier this year, for the Canadian Navy Centennial, I had researched and written an article about the corvette HMCS Kincardine, so the date of her naming was easy to find.

OB:

Can you each mention a particular historical event from the book that stands out in your mind?

KLT:

Since we didn't include my birthday… I think the coolest thing mentioned is the Sauble Elm, a giant tree, believed to be the biggest of its kind in Ontario. It measured 140 feet tall, 24 feet around when they cut it.

ADJ:

I liked the home-town firsts. For example, through finding that Canada's first folk school was held here in Bruce, I "met" Helen Samells, an interesting woman who, I learned, instigated Ontario's first rural credit union, also in Bruce County.

OB:

If you were to describe Bruce County to a newcomer in just a few words, what would they be?

KLT:

"Welcome to God's Country"...that's how I think of it. We have everything here but big mountains.

ADJ:

Bruce has a beautiful, varied landscape with friendly people who enjoy challenges—such as our winters!


A bookseller for many years, Anne Duke Judd founded The Brucedale Press in 1994 to preserve and publish the words of authors of the area. She continues to support the written and spoken word through participation in such groups as Words Aloud, the Writers' BLOC, and the Ontario Poetry Society. Anne writes, edits, and gardens in Saugeen Shores.

Trained in commercial art, illustration and photography, Ken Thornburn taught at Ontario College of Art and worked in the feature and commercial film industry in Toronto before returning to his Bruce County roots. He established Northern Flyer Designs in 1991, with a studio and retail store in Tara. Ken's original framed art, numbered prints and art cards are available in several area outlets.


For more information about Bruce Day by Day please visit the Brucedale Press website.

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